Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, April 15, 2023

Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, April 15, 2023

The Greater Victoria Green Team engaged 9 community members at a rare coastal sand dune habitat off the Saanich Peninsula! We removed lots of European Beachgrass that had overgrown the natural sand dune, preventing native species from growing there. This habitat is rare, with many at-risk species present, so removing invasive species is very important work! The at-risk species in this habitat include Contorted-Pod Evening Primrose, Yellow Sand-Verbena, Howell’s Triteleia, and Black Knotweed. More common native sand dune species include Dunegrass and Large-headed Sedge.

Coastal sand ecosystems are incredibly unique habitats on South Vancouver Island! Generally speaking, in order for a coastal sand dune to exist, there needs to be a source of sand, or shelter from intense winds and waves. Very often, you will get a hill or cliff face that is slowly eroding and dropping sediment into the ocean. Ocean currents then carry the sand up the shoreline and deposit it on the beach. This renews the sand on the beach even when strong winds wash it away, as more sand will replace it. A great example of this system in Greater Victoria is Island View Beach and Cordova Spit. Sand is dropped from the cliffs at the south end of the beach and carried along the shoreline, landing on the beach and forming the sandspit at the north end. These unique conditions prompt unique species to adapt—this is why there are so many rare and endangered species associated with coastal sand ecosystems!

This was our second of four sessions restoring the site this month! We visited this site ten times last year and are continuing this important restoration work along the coastline. Thank you to everyone who participated throughout the month to help improve this coastal sand dune ecosystem!!


Thank you to our community members for participating: Lorissa, Josie, Barbara, Andre, Rob, Yves, Sarah, Casie, and Sophia!


Thank-you very much to The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) for partnering with us and contributing to our Green Team activities and for recognizing the importance of of investing in your community members and green spaces!




  • In total 9 community members volunteered and contributed 57 volunteer hours!
  • 6 volunteers were introduced to the this site, and 1 was introduced to removing invasive species!
  • We removed 4 cubic metres of invasive beachgrass
  • We revitalized 175 square metres of sand dune habitat!
  • We picked up a variety of litter on the beach as we moved through the site
  • A river otter swam by us while we worked along the beach, we saw a seal on our way back, and we observed many species of birds throughout the day!
  • One of our community members was also fortunate enough to spot one of the elusive fallow deer near the site!

Before and After Photos


We nearly filled the trailer with invasive grasses by the end of the day! Including the grasses from the previous day, we had about 5.5 cubic meters of invasive grass loaded up to be properly disposed of.

This activity not only benefitted the environment, but also the participants themselves. By being out in nature doing something positive as a team, our community members:

  • Develop a sense of belonging to community and place
  • Have improved mental and physical health
  • Connect to nature, which leads to environmentally responsible behaviour
  • Learn about local environmental issues and actions they can take
  • Learn the value of bringing together people to work towards a common goal
  • Become leaders in their communities
  • Increase confidence, resilience and perseverance

Action Shots

We found a variety of items that did not belong on the beach!

Styrofoam, pieces of old shoes, and assorted plastic were found along the beach and removed throughout the day!


It takes a great deal of team work to remove that many invasive plants!

Volunteer Testimonials

“It was great to see how much a small group of people could accomplish together. There is still lots more work that can be done, but this event made meaningful progress to an important goal!”


“Great day with great people doing great work at a great location. Couldn’t get any better!”


[I enjoyed] The satisfaction of helping to remove this invasive. The Green Team is making a big impact on restoring natural habitat.



We were very careful not to disturb a number of native plants on the beach, including yellow sand-verbena (pictured above), contorted-pod evening-primrose, black knotweed, and Howell’s triteleia

We were also fortunate to see the small-flowered blue-eyed mary plant (to the right) which is a vibrantly coloured native flowering plant growing along the beach.

Thank you Graig for helping us get to the precise work site! We had a lot of fun travelling together!


Thank you to Gathering Place, LUSH, and Ola Bamboo for Donating In-Kind Rewards to our Hard Working Community Members!

If you have a business that is sustainable and eco-friendly, and you would like to donate in-kind to our Green Team, please contact Kaitlin by email:




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